The director of the county Health Department said Wednesday that a "slight" increase in vaccinations "will not be enough to blunt the surge that is coming."
Becky Barnes said COVID-19 cases in Hamilton County "were up yesterday and they are up more today."
She said some individuals in the community continue to believe that COVID is a hoax.
Ms. Barnes said a recent caller told her that "COVID is exactly the flu. There is no difference."
Commissioner Katherlyn Geter said she was in a restaurant when she heard two couples discussing the virus. She said they asserted that "it is the vaccine that is killing folks and that the virus is a necessity to get rid of the right folks."
She said she was informed last night that two local major hospitals are getting overwhelmed with virus cases. She stated, "We cannot take what we went through last March."
Commissioner David Sharpe said choice by some on vaccination "has impact on our whole community."
He said, "I wouldn't wish COVID on my worst enemy."
Commissioner Steve Highlander cited "five family and friends that I have had funerals for."
Commissioner Tim Boyd said a friend of his daughter died recently after choosing not to get vaccinated.
He said, "I cut to the chase. I go as far as saying you're an idiot if you don't get vaccinated."
County Mayor Jim Coppinger said local hospitals are again filling up with patients, including many who had earlier put off having elective surgeries.
He said the latest COVID totals showed 97 in hospitals here with over 50 percent of those from Hamilton County. He said earlier that the county percentage had been around 35 percent.
The county mayor said, "A lot of people have left nursing. They are stressed to the max. They've watched people die and they need a break. But there's no break in sight.
"We are going to have to hunker down and get people vaccinated."
He said a new mask mandate is not planned, saying people have been educated on the topic for the past 18 months.